The heartless violence gripping the city amid its public health, psychosocial and economic crises took the life last Saturday of an immigrant mother of three girls who was shot four times in the middle of the afternoon.
Josefina Pérez De La Rosa, 37, was killed outside 32-17 97 St., just a few blocks from her home at 26-29 98 St. in East Elmhurst, police said. Officers responded to a 911 call reporting a woman shot at about 3:35 p.m., they said.
Emergency Medical Services transported Pérez to NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, where she was pronounced dead.
There had been no arrest reported as of Wednesday afternoon and police said the investigation was ongoing. According to one report posted on Facebook, Pérez’s family believes she was killed by “a man obsessed with her.” The Queens Chronicle could not ascertain the origin of the report, which was originally posted in Spanish.
Information reported about Pérez was not always consistent. The article on Facebook said she came to the United States from the Dominican Republic about seven years ago to seek a better life for her children, while the Daily News said she was from Spain. The story on Facebook and another source said she had three daughters, while other media outlets reported that she had two. The News said she owned her own cleaning company.
“Relatives and friends describe her as a positive woman with contagious joy,” the article on Facebook said.
A GoFundMe page set up in the name of Pérez had raised $3,480 of its $5,000 goal by late Wednesday morning. The page did not say what purpose the money would serve but in cases of homicide or other sudden death they often are meant to defray funeral expenses, assist surviving children or both.
“Josefina Pérez was shot and killed a couple of blocks from her home,” the organizer of the fundraiser, Livio Piedra, said in Spanish on the page. “Josefina was always very kind, very noble and she had no problems with anyone, unfortunately they took her life, leaving 3 girls.”
The Chronicle reached out to Piedra for more information on the fundraiser but did not hear back immediately.
“Rest in peace, friend, we will always remember you,” one contributor said, writing in Spanish. The donor, Cristian Tello, also posted a photo of Pérez.
The New York Post reported that Pérez was shot once in the chest, twice in the stomach and once in the pelvis, while a police spokesman said she was hit three times in the abdomen and once in her right leg. Police said her killer was wearing blue jeans and a beige jacket, according to the paper.
Anyone with information about the slaying is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 577-TIPS (8477), or, for Spanish, 1 (888) 57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit tips by visiting nypdcrimestoppers.com; by texting 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577; or by sending a message to the @nypdtips account on Twitter. All tips are strictly confidential.
Pérez’s murder was the third to occur in three days in Queens surrounding New Year’s. The city’s last homicide of 2020 took place in South Jamaica late last Thursday, New Year’s Eve, when a 26-year-old man was killed in front of 113-08 Sutphin Blvd. And its first homicide of 2021 took place in Kew Gardens early on New Year’s Day, when a 21-year-old man was shot dead outside the problematic Umbrella Hotel at 124-18 Queens Blvd. [see separate story in some editions or at qchron.com].
Citywide, homicides rose 41 percent last year compared to 2019, while the number of shootings just about doubled. In Queens, killings rose but at a far slower rate, going from 69 to 75, though shootings also nearly doubled here, with the number of incidents jumping from 125 to 236 and the count of victims from 148 to 291 [see separate story]. Overall the seven major offenses referred to as index crimes by the Police Department and tracked in its CompStat program increased 5 percent in Queens.